The much awaited movie of this century is here finally and guess what it is a total damp squib for the film critic within me. The lead up to the movie had been loaded with aggressive marketing strategies that led the people to make a beeline at the movie halls.
I was really interested in checking out the movie after all the hoopla on television and the scenes of people celebrating the movie's release. The post release period also had great reviews from some very respected journos and critics which prompted me to check out the rage myself. I went for the movie (tamil version) and I was disappointed (The 'critic' me). I was at the PVR plaza in Delhi where the audience was predominantly local Delhi Tamils.
The film did open up to loud cheers from the audience but it all died down as time passed. The cheers were largely due to the comic acts from the two comedy actors, Santhanam and karunas and little because of Rajni himself.
The film is about a scientist Vaseegaran (Carnegie Mellon Phd) who invests 10 yrs of his life in designing a Robot which he intended to give for service in the Indian Army. The villain in the movie is Dr.Bora, Vaseegaran's mentor in Robotics who is frustrated with his own failed intentions to be the subject leader in Robotics. He boils in disappointment when the scientific community cheer for his protege in a conference.
Vaseegaran's love interest is Sana ( Aishwarya Rai Bachan) , a medical student who is quite fed up with her boyfriend for spending too much in his lab working on his robot. She lives with her widowed mother in a Home set up for kargil widows.
The story revolves around the Robot 'Chitti' who is programed by Vaseegaran to have human emotions. When the Robot falls in love with Sana, Vaseegaran dismantles and disowns the innocent robot which is only programmed to work constructively and not destruct. The now disowned robot is adopted by Dr. Bora who programs chitti for destructive work and sells it to scrpulous foreigners who want to use the model for terrorist activities. This new robot instead escapes and decides ro pursue Sana and live with her in his own world. The way in which Vaseegaran retorts and gets back his lady love and restores sanity in the world is the rest of the story.
Although this movie has been classified as a Sci-Fi, I remember only watching sci-fi Rajni movies. Rajni movies typically defy logic of any kind and only talk about the good defeating the bad, both typically fictional to scientific standards. He has romanced a 20 yr old Shreya Saran last year in 'Shivaji' which set a record that will be difficult to break as far a logic defying pairing is concerned. The names of the characters are too non-tamil for me to accept (I haven't come across a Vaseegaran and a Sana yet in my small world). I also havent come across a scientist in India who drives a Merc, S-class convertible. I havent seen 112 missed calls of any one on any phone. This movie is just another Rajni movie albeit a bad over hyped one.
In the second half, Rajni had failed miserably in recreating the magic that he once created in villainous roles. remember the 70s? The blame must fall totally on the Director for this botch up. The action sequences could be best compared with a masala Vijay movie and not the so-told Hollywood standards. They lacked perspective and fitted badly in the scenarios.
There are indeed a few things that money can't buy. Money can buy Aishwarya Rai to dance in sexy attire to leave her previous best 'Dhoom 2' as a distant second. She has indeed worked up some heat. Money can even make Aishwarya Rai kiss Rajni on his cheeks 512 times (Gross scene). A little more money could have made her kiss on his lips. Such scenes should be tested with monkeys as audience before getting tried on humans. Money can make Aishwarya Rai speak in tamil during interviews. Money can make Amitabh Bachan call Rajni a 'King' and heap praises. Money can bring foreign technicians to work up a lot of graphics and serve it hot. Money can make an audio release function in Malaysia happen.
You will be missing a point if you believe that Rajni's fame is bought with money.
Moeny can't buy people to come and watch a film a maniac number of times. Money can't make people que up in early morning to grab that elusive ticket. Money can't force people to watch non sensical movies.
Endhiran will be big success story defying all these odds. How?
Money couldn't buy a hair transplant for Rajni. Money couldn't buy Rajni a makeup during public appearances. Money couldn't make Rajni act in a commercial endorsement despite having the most devoted fan following in India. Money couldn't buy starry behaviour for Rajni. Money couldn't buy humility for Amitabh Bachan, SRK and Aamir Khan.
Being a Tamilan myself, I can easily say that we are the most emotionally blinded people in India. Our passions run high on matters close to our heart. The thirkural education and the impetus on a good living breeds young colts to belive in a fairy tale world where only good exists. When this belief is thwarted by the actual exposure to evil in the society comes the hero who defeats all evil. Every human being yearns for a hero when he faces a evil situation.
Rajni fits the bill perfectly. Rajni has historically played roles where he relates to the common man by being one of him facing the kind of issues that we all face. However he is a hero and he takes on the problems and overcomes them, thereby giving hope. Hope is a precious commodity and every human being needs a dose of it frequently. Rajini does just that. He gives tamilians hope to live life overcoming all the odds.
As a race that has been seriously wounded by others recently (Srilankan brutality) and historically, we need hope and strength. We needed a force that could unite us and Rajini does that. Although it may be disputed, the fact that he does that more than any other human being is a fact that cannot be argued.
The rest of India may smirk at the thought of Rajinikanth, the superstar. This phenomenonal man is unfortunately not a product that can be sold by ad gurus. He is a process that has grown with every Tamilan over a few decades and I told you we are emotionally blinded people. We are loyal no matter what.
Endhiran is a Super, Duper Hit!!
All hail Thalaivar!!!